TUI Travel is to close 100 agencies in the UK and hundreds more staff are in redundancy consultations at the group’s offices in Crawley and Manchester.

Chief executive Peter Long confirmed the shop closures this morning, telling  “There were always going to be closures where shops are unprofitable or we have multi-locations in a town. It is a minor rationalisation.”

The closures follow the merger of  leading holiday groups TUI and First Choice last September.

Long refused to specify the number of jobs to go or numbers of staff involved in consultation on redundancy, saying he hoped the jobs would be cut through “natural reduction”.

“We will not quantify the impact in terms of staff,” he said.

He confirmed the back-office teams at Crawley and the former First Choice Airways office in Manchester would be sacrificed as operations are merged and relocated to Luton.

Long insisted TUI had been unaffected by any fall in high street spending. “We have not seen a consumer downturn and are not seeing people cut back on expenditure,” he said.

The group has increased its estimate of the savings from the merger by 50% to £150 million a year. Long said the majority would come from operating a joint airline, joint purchasing and single IT systems and not from a reduced wage bill.

TUI Travel has more than 18,000 staff in the UK.